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Late Hurtado goal keeps Sporting in playoff chase
by Brian Turrel
An 88th minute goal for striker Erik Hurtado gave Sporting Kansas City a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC and kept the club within striking distance of making the MLS playoffs.
Although they played aggressively throughout the match and kept pressure on Minnesota’s defense, Sporting had trouble breaking through until Hurtado’s game-winner. Johnny Russell placed the ball neatly through a gap in the Minnesota defense. Hurtado touched the ball to his right to stretch out Loons goalkeeper Vito Mannone, and then played the ball back across at an angle for the score.
After the game, head coach Peter Vermes credited the team’s approach to the game.
“It was the relentlessness of the guys in pursuit of that goal,” Vermes said. “That’s why we scored in the 88th minute, because we weren’t going to be denied.”
The victory brought Sporting Kansas City within 3 points of the final playoff position, but earning the playoff berth will likely require three to four more victories in the seven remaining games.
Sporting will play next against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, Aug. 31.